Man charged with murder in death of Toronto police officer released on bail

A Toronto man charged with the alleged murder of a Toronto police officer in July has been released on bail.

Umar Zameer, of Thornhill, Ont., was released from jail on Sept 22. after relatives of his posted $335,000 for bail.

Zameer, 31, was charged with first-degree murder after it is alleged he “intentionally” struck Toronto police Const. Jeffrey Northrup with a vehicle in a parking garage near City Hall on July 2.

Cst. Northrup was rushed to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

The 31-year veteran of the force was in plainclothes when he and another officer responded to a priority call in the area.

Another officer was transported to hospital to treat minor injuries before being released.

Police have not released any other information on the incident.

Zameer’s release was subject to a list of 15 conditions, including remaining in his Thornhill residence at all times, with the exceptions of travelling to and from work on the most direct route, going to medical or dental appointments or attending his defence counsel’s office. He is not permitted to leave the province or be within 2 kilometres of the Ontario border.

He must also refrain from operating a motor vehicle, forfeit all travel documents to a designated police officer and agree to electronic supervision.  

Zameer’s lawyer, Nadar Hasan, provided a statement on Wednesday’s decision, stating that Zameer’s family is “very pleased” with the outcome.

“I know it comes amidst a tragedy for officer Northrup's family and again, [I] express my condolences,” Hasan said in his statement.

He says that his team has advised the Court of their intention to seek to “vary the terms of the publication ban, so that the public will better understand this case and why the Court has reached this decision.”

“When an individual charged with a serious crime has been granted bail, the public is inevitably curious about the reason. We can only respond that there is much more to this case and to this tragic situation than meets the eye. In due course, this will become clear,” Hasan said.

Chief James Ramer of the Toronto Police Service released a statement in response to Zameer’s release, saying that “today’s decision by the court is one step in what will be a long judicial process.”

“We will continue to participate fully and we will continue to offer support to Jeff’s family, friends and colleagues,” Ramer wrote.

President of the Toronto Police Association told CP24 Wednesday that it was “appalling that we have an individual that's charged with first-degree murder, let alone the murder of a police officer, [..] released on bail.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford took to social media on Wednesday afternoon to share his thoughts on the decision.

“This is beyond comprehension. It’s completely unacceptable that the person charged for this heinous crime is now out on bail,” Ford wrote on Twitter.

“Our justice system needs to get its act together and start putting victims and their families ahead of criminals.”

Back in July, Ford called the incident a "devastating loss" and said he was "terribly saddened" to hear of Const. Northrup's death.

CP24 spoke to criminal lawyer Ari Goldkind on Wednesday following the decision. Goldkind called the outcome “not normal.”

“This is extraordinarily unusual in our city that somebody charged with first-degree murder would be released on bail,” Goldkind said Wednesday.

However, Goldkind echoed that perhaps the public does not know the full-story due to the court’s publication ban.

“The lawyer for Mr. Zameer put out a very responsible and well-worded statement saying [that] there's so much here that we don't know and what it tells me is that, behind the scenes, the tragic circumstances here are likely not what the public thinks them to be,” he said.

“I'm hoping [that], in coming days, the public will be made aware to ease people's minds that the criminal justice system did something odd today and my guess is it likely did not.”

With files from CTV News Toronto's Phil Tsekouras.